Monthly Archives: October 2016

Karma

A little push after a fight is over, an intentional illegal strike, or even some explicit words exchanged during a fight. It all boils down to sportsmanship. The first two can get people hurt but rarely do. What about someone who holds a submission too long with the intention of really hurting someone. Well, that is against all that real martial arts stands for. If it is done to win a fight, so that the ref sees the tap, because there have been controversial decisions based on someone saying they weren’t tapping in the past, then that is a little different. The tapping fighter should have integrity enough to admit they tapped but there have been cases where they did not admit it. Anyway, I’m talking about someone intentionally trying to render their opponent unconscious or even more diabolically injure them seriously.

Rousimar Palhares has seen better days. The once UFC contender and former World Series of Fighting Champion was in action this past weekend and it did not go well. Palhares fought Michal Materla at KSW 36 in Poland and in the second round of the bout a right uppercut from Materla leveled Palhares. I don’t think many fans will be feeling sorry for him as he is probably one of the most detested fighters in MMA. If it wasn’t for his tendency to hold on to submissions long after his opponent has tapped he would most likely still be fighting in the UFC.
Palhares was released by the UFC in 2013 after several instances where he failed to release submissions after the tap. After his release he was given a shot by World Series of Fighting and won their welterweight title. He defended it twice with two big submission wins, one against Jon Fitch and another against Jake Shields. The one against Shields caused him to be released from the promotion after holding on to the submission long after Shields tapped.

Karma is a mother when it hits you.

Another famous UFC fighter was Babalu, Ronato Sobral. In the 74th UFC Babalu Sobral faced David Heath and dominated him with superior ground-and-pound. In the second round, he opened a cut on Heath’s forehead. Then he locked in a choke. Heath tapped. In the vast majority of cases once fighters feel the tap, they release the submission. Babalu kept applying the choke despite the tap. It was due to some trash talking before the fight that Babalu thought was disrespectful. He let him go after Heath passed out. “He has to learn respect. He deserved that. He called me a mother effer,” Babalu said during his post-fight interview in not so many words. Needless to say, Babalu never fought in the UFC ever again. Additionally, the Nevada State Athletic Commission withheld half of Sobral’s $50,000 fight purse. Karma was immediate and Ronato has had some success in smaller promotions but lost his contract in the big show after that stunt.

In summary, there have been notoriously bad-tempered fighters in the cage. I just wanted to tell you a little about a couple of them and show you why some people may think that MMA isn’t a real martial art, just a barbaric “human cock fight” as it was once dubbed. The actions of a few can spoil it for the rest right? Not really, the UFC is bigger and more famous than ever. They do really promote a good skilled martial art’s attitude and hope that their fighters obey a code of conduct that applies to most professionals. I just hope that the world sees the beauty of the art and that these guys are true martial artists through-and-through, despite the despicable actions of some fighters.

Olympic MMA?

I have only heard it talked about in rumor, along with Brazilian Jiujitsu but there is a concrete plan on Olympic MMA. I’ve been wanting to see mixed martial arts or at least some form of it like Sambo or Pankration in the Olympic Games. Well, sort of. The World Mixed Martial Arts Association (WMMAA), will submit its application to the International Olympic Committee in 2017 for MMA to be recognized as an Olympic discipline. They stated that they have all of the documentation ready to proceed with the application. The president stated “We have a very good chance to get a positive response, MMA is now the most popular sport on the planet, there are more than 60 countries in our federation. I believe we have the that MMA will be in the Olympic program in the future, but it is not something achievable in the next year or two.” Since its inception in 2012, the WMMAA has held championships in Europe and around the world. He went on to state that “Unlike boxing we often don’t see top MMA fighters who have embraced the glory of the Olympics.”

We all know that real MMA is a young sport that is not a part of any international amateur multi-games event like the Pan Ams, Asian Games, or the Olympics itself, so we don’t see many fighters with gold medals dangling around their necks. Only a few have gone on to be recognized as world-class athletes in Judo or Wrestling. Most of the MMA fighters who have gone on to become champions have started with Jiujitsu, Muay Thai, or wrestling at a very young age, then later competed in amateur MMA competition to get a shot at the UFC.

There are some notable Olympians who have fought in the UFC like Daniel Cormier. Sara McMann is onne of the best women wrestlers to ever compete in the Octagon and won a silver medal in Olympics in 2004 in Athens. She was one of the most dominant women fighters in MMA who went on to compete for the title against Ronda Rousey. Before her title fight, she had an undefeated record of 7 wins and no losses. One can tell how tough was McMahon as she received a title fight with only seven fights experience and in only her second fight in the UFC. There is Yoel Romero who is one of the best knockout artists in the middleweight division of the UFC today. This Cuban fighter, despite being one of the oldest fighters in the UFC today, is someone to be respected. He has inhuman athleticism. But before starting his wrath in the Octagon the Romero was an accomplished Olympic wrestler. A very current fighter, Henry Cejudo is a flyweight who has fought for the title and is the third Olympic gold medalist in the UFC’s history, and the only flyweight Olympic medalist to ever compete in the Octagon. He won the Olympic gold medal at a young age of 21 in 2008 in Beijing. Ever since then he has proven his skills in the cage and had bagged an undefeated record of ten wins and no losses to earn a title shot against Demetrious Johnson.

Not as current, but equally as important is Matt Lindland who is one of the pioneers of MMA. He co-founded the Team Quest MMA training center in 1999 along with MMA legends Randy Couture and Dan Henderson. Lindland is probably the only MMA fighter who had won an Olympic medal and to have competed in the UFC as a fighter and then also to coach. He had begun to pursue an MMA career before trying a hand in world tournaments. After winning an Olympic silver medal in 2000 in Sydney, he managed to get a shot to fight in the Octagon. With a colorful resume, he was also selected as the world team coach in the year 2013 for US Greco-roman wrestling team. There is Kevin Jackson who is little known in the world of mainstream MMA. But he has achieved a little glory inside the Octagon as well as international wrestling competitions. Nicknamed as the ‘Lighting’, he was quite outstanding amongst his peers. Jackson won his Olympic gold medal in 1992 in Barcelona and additionally has also won two gold medals in the World Championships and the Pan Ams.

Very current and very famous is Ronda Rousey. She is very vocal about being opposed the stereotypes of having male dominant figures in combat sports and is now one of the biggest draws in the Octagon as per UFC President Dana White. Rousey was the inaugural UFC Bantamweight champion and went on to defend the championship six times setting a record in the female division. Her mother taught her Judo since she was a kid and helped her on her way up to win the Olympic Bronze Medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She has the art of Judo in her blood and that what caused her to be the ‘Arm Collector’ in the cage. With a movie involving his life, Mark Shultz also fought in the UFC. The Schultz brothers are two of the best wrestlers in the American history. Wrestling was in the man’s blood and so was in his brother, Dave’s. The duo both bagged Gold medals in 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. After a long retirement of 8 years from the wrestling mat, Schultz decided to try his skills in the Octagon. He entered the cage to face Gary Goodridge and won the match via TKO. In 1991, Mark Schultz along with Lee Kemp and John Smith achieved a record for “The most world titles won by a U.S. wrestler” and were entered in the Guinness Book of Records. To be a complete grappler he excelled in the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and received his black belt under Pedro Sauer.

Fighters Can’t Stay Retired

So Conor was mad one day and announced his retirement. Ronda did the same thing, but it was out of depression. Boxers used to do this all the time, then they would go back and fight again. This seems to be the trend for UFC fighters as well. UFC President Dana White confirmed no final decision has been made about Ronda Rousey’s long-awaited return to the Octagon. Her last fight was a loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193 in November. There have been talks about her coming back, but they hadn’t made a decision yet. There’s a chance she fights to get her belt back this year, but nothing is set in terms of that yet. If she does make a comeback this year then she will get a title shot if she wins.

Her camp promises the best Ronda Rousey that anyone has ever seen.

On Tuesday, Damon Martin of Fox Sports passed along comments Dana White made during an appearance on the UFC Unfiltered podcast. He wouldn’t provide details about her potential comeback fight but noted it wouldn’t happen on the UFC 205 card at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12, as previously speculated, citing sources, Martin reported there have been discussions about a Rousey return before the end of 2016. He noted they were preliminary talks, however, and nothing has been finalized. It’s still possible she won’t return until next year. Rousey is a superstar and emerged as a dominant force and top UFC draw before she suffered the first loss of her professional career against Holm. With her return we certainly see a fight between Cyborg and her in the future.

This is the fight everyone, including myself, that everyone has been waiting for.

The stars haven’t aligned to date, but now that Cyborg is in the UFC and Ronda is coming back, it looks like a possibility.

While some may have believed the expected hiatus would lessen the pain of defeat, Rousey erased any thought of that earlier this year. Nina Mandell of USA Today noted the former Olympic bronze medalist provided a candid glimpse at her mindset following Holm’s upset while on The Ellen Show in February: “In the medical room, I was down in the corner, I was sitting in the corner and I was like ‘what am I anymore if I’m not this?’ And I was literally sitting there and thinking about killing myself in that exact second, I’m nothing. Like what do I do anymore? And no one gives an crap (altered from a bad word) about me anymore without this.” Crazy how that much pressure can consume your life and make you feel like it is all you have in life.

Now the question is what type of drawing power Rousey will have after her loss and more than a year away from the sport. It’s hard to know whether her comeback attempt will immediately draw mainstream attention or if she’ll need to establish herself all over again. Like mentioned though, a fight with Cyborg would certainly top the PPV charts if they collide in the middle of their primes. She’s been sorely missed by the UFC, which sold last month for $4 billion and is going to need marquee attractions like Rousey to shine in order to prove worth the investment. Again, only time will tell. If it is meant to be, then the UFC will certainly make it happen.

Kid’s MMA

So I have made it abundantly clear that I support Kid’s in martial arts and kids competing in the different disciplines of MMA. I have also talked about Pankration which is the closest thing to kid’s MMA available. It allows striking and grappling but does away with the more dangerous aspects. The show I am involved in allows kids to get themselves into the spotlight. They walk out to their choice of songs, they participate in a cage, and they get all the aspects of a big show without the danger of being struck in the head or having a heel hook tear their knee. There are obvious reasons that kids shouldn’t fight in full blown MMA fights.

I always say that it doesn’t matter when a fighter starts, they have a shelf life.

Your body can only take so much of the abuse involved in the training and competing in MMA. If you get kids started young in full rules MMA, their bodies wouldn’t be able to take that kind of abuse for years and years. With that all said, there are countries that condone extremely violent competition for kids. Muay Thai in Thailand is one such example. Some of these kids turn pro at the tender age of 8 and accumulate hundreds of fights before they are teenagers. Craziness that is engrained in their society and is perfectly acceptable in their culture.

A recent story making the rounds comes out of Russia. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov made news in Russia, and the world after his three sons aged between 8 and 10 fought in the ring in a brutal mixed martial arts contest. This is a breach of rules in Russia. In video footage posted by Kadyrov on Instagram, his 10-year-old son Akhmad is shown knocking his opponent out within seconds at the contest in Grozny, watched by his father in the audience. The head of the Russian Mixed Martial Arts Union, Fedor Emelianenko, condemned the holding of the children’s fights during the Grand Prix Akhmat-2016 competition in Chechen capital Grozny. Where he was quoted as saying “What happened at the tournament in Grozny is unacceptable and cannot be justified.” The children’s fights were announced, under false pretenses, as exhibition performances in order to clear the red tape, but were far from that.

Emelianenko said that children under 12 are not allowed to compete and those over 12 are supposed to wear a helmet.

I am really outraged by the fact that Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov was watching all of this.” ~ Fedor Emelianenko

Stated by Emelianenko, a famous fighter, is a member of President Vladimir Putin’s council on developing physical culture and sport. Russia’s sports ministry said it would investigate. “We will find out about this situation and we will request information on this,” deputy sports minister Pavel Kolobkov told TASS state news agency. Kadyrov was inaugurated for a third term on Wednesday after winning almost 98 percent of the vote. The muscle-bound leader regularly posts photographs of his gym sessions. Often called “fight without rules” in Russian, the combat discipline of mixed martial arts allows blows with legs and hands. Putin is apparently a fan and in 2011 climbed into the ring at a tournament in Moscow to congratulate Emelianenko on beating American Jeff Monson, who has since acquired a Russian passport.

Not mentioning the trauma involved to the body of a young child, it can certainly have mental repercussions as well. I don’t need to let you know that the benefits of martial arts far outweigh the negatives, but MMA is not a sport that kids should be exposed to at a young age. Martial Arts Styles are complex and can aid the physical, mental, and emotional development of children. The art of beating people up and being rewarded for knockouts is far from what kids should be taught. Pretty insane stuff, but at least an Icon in MMA is doing his part to make sure this type of thing doesn’t happen again.

Martial Artists With Superhero Powers

This is a continuation from last weeks blog about the man with balls of steel, and the other two martial artists. I was basically breaking down what they do since their powers are attributed to their martial arts mastery and deciding whether these are legitimate skills or just magic tricks. The verdict was out on the guys last week but I wanted to present a couple more and offer my opinion.

Will this blog change your life? Probably not but I find it very interesting that there may be real life superheroes; I also find it rather fitting that they are martial artists.

Mr. Dragonbreath (I dubbed it, they don’t actually call him that I don’t think) Liu Fei is slightly different as a martial artist who has internalized his Martial Arts prowess. He is an elderly man from Mianyang in southwestern China. We’ve all seen fire-breathers at the circus, or even at a trendy bar. They put something flammable in their mouth then they blow it out on an external flame and it causes a huge burst of fire. Liu Fei uses flammable substance of sawdust, but somehow there’s no external flame involved. He’s able to increase the temperature of his own mouth enough to light the tinder ablaze and exhale flames and smoke. So can you increase your body temperature high enough to create fire? I’m thinking there is a catch to this one. With the other powers possessed by the previous superhero martial artists, a lifetime of conditioning could alter their anatomy or they may just have been freaks of nature. This fire-breathing thing seems way to off the biology chart. It would burn flesh wouldn’t it? My guess is that he has an external flame or even spark that lights the flame subtly.

Along those lines, there may be truth to Fei’s ability to bring the heat. I just feel like his is a parlor trick. Now this guy Zhou Ting-Jue is baffling me. Qigong, Tai Chi, and Kung Fu grand master Zhou Ting-Jue can harness the energy of his body to create intense heat according to the claims. Ting-Jue has baffled scientists with his ability to channel intense heat through the palms of his hands, bringing water near the boiling point and setting paper on fire. Thermal cameras have captured the process in action, and although many people think he’s a faker, they don’t have any scientific explanation for how he’s pulling it off. With over 70 years of martial arts training, it’s more than possible that Ting-Jue simply understands the abilities of his body better than the rest of us. Once again, I don’t know how he doesn’t burn his flesh in the process. But maybe that is why he is famous and me, not so much.

Muay Thai is obviously one of my favorite martial arts. I believe in the ability of a lifetime master of Muay Thai to defeat any other striking art in hand-to-hand combat.

I have seen Muay Thai practicioners break bamboo trees and baseball bats with kick.

Mak Yuree, a Bangaladeshi man who can kick through a bundle of three baseball bats with a kick using his his shin. An individual bat takes 740 pounds of force to break. Yuree claims to be able to engage 96% of the muscles in his body, which seems crazy, but we have all heard of Bruce Lee right? He felt the same way. The fact remains, Mak can break three bats and he does it over and over again. Yuree grew up in military school, where he would practice every day to toughen up his limbs. Needless to say, I don’t think this one is fake. This dude has obviously mastered the art of hitting the bats at the right contact point with the correct amount of force, and he has conditioned his body to do so. I’d hate to take a leg kick from him.